Fire officials in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, are advising people to stay off the ice after they rescued a man who fell through Thursday.
An ice fisher was pulled from Falls Pond around 4 p.m. by firefighters wearing ice rescue suits. The North Attleboro Fire Department said crews brought him to safety within five minutes.
The man was taken to an area hospital to be evaluated.
The fire department said it advises everyone to stay off the ice, adding that it has a policy of not certifying the safety of any bodies of water.
"Even on the coldest days, it is hard to truly be able to tell how thick ice is," North Attleboro Fire Chief Christopher Coleman said in a statement. "For that reason, we advise residents to stay off the ice in order to avoid potentially dangerous situations like this."
The department said that if you choose to go onto ice, you should not be alone. Pets should be kept on leashes, and if a pet falls through, you are advised to call 911 instead of going in after the animal.
"New ice is usually stronger than old ice," the department noted. "As the ice ages, the bond between the crystals decay, making it weaker, even if melting has not occurred."
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Fire officials also said to be wary of ice covered with snow, and that "slush is a danger sign, indicating that ice is no longer freezing from the bottom and can be weak or deteriorating."
If someone you are with falls through, and you can't reach them from the shore, fire officials say you should try to throw them something like a rope or a branch. You should call for help if this does not work.
"If you fall in, try not to panic," the department said. "Turn toward the direction you came from. Place your hands and arms on the unbroken surface, working forward by kicking your feet. Once out, remain lying on the ice (do not stand) and roll away from the hole. Crawl back to your tracks, keeping your weight distributed until you return to solid ice."